Energy up

Red Bull Summer Edition Curuba Elderflower

An ever-growing demand for new flavours and stimulants has seen the Sports & Energy category boom – especially in convenience.

Sports & Energy has played a key role in keeping the soft drinks segment alive and well within convenience, despite the effects of inflation within the wider grocery market.

According to Nielsen, Sports & Energy accounts for 68% of all growth, adding £144m to the category. What’s more, there’s been an increase in shoppers buying energy drinks through independent and symbol stores. Kantar figures have shown that last year, three million shoppers purchased an energy drink in the channel – up 25% compared to the year before – making it a key category to focus on in 2024.

Meanwhile, in the last 12 months, Sports & Energy has been the fastest growing category, contributing 47% of all value growth within soft drinks, according to Nielsen. “We’re also seeing this trend play out within the wider market, and throughout the summer we saw weeks where Sports & Energy overtook Colas as the number one category in value share within the total market,” Red Bull explains.

“Within this, Energy has been a key player, now accounting for 19% of all Soft Drink value (+2pts in share vs two years ago) and growth is showing no signs of slowing, so we expect this trend to continue into 2024.”

Flavours over all

Energy flavours continued to grow in popularity in 2023, with 71% of shoppers that were new to Energy Drinks having bought a flavoured product, according to Kantar. “Stocking a range of core stimulants flavours and new variants has been key to the success of the category,” Ben Parker, GB Retail Commercial Director at Britvic, explains.

“Range expansion has been vital in keeping pace with increased demand and retailers should consider stocking a selection of products and flavours to help attract new shoppers into the category.”

Britvic’s Rockstar range boasts multiple lines with flavours including Juiced El Mango, Punched Tropical Guava, XDurance Blueberry, Pomegranate & Acai, Juiced Tropical Punch, and Rockstar Original.

Underlining the importance of innovative flavours, Red Bull is also introducing its new Summer Edition Curuba Elderflower this month. Available nationwide from 11 March, the new line boasts a flavour profile described as “exotic, refreshing, and floral with hints of melon, pineapple and elderflower”.

Meanwhile, World of Sweets is also introducing Sneak Energy to its offer with a range of 500ml energy drinks and flavours including Sneak Energy Tropikilla, Sneak Energy Purple Storm, Sneak Energy Raspberry Lemonade and Sneak Energy Blizzard. “Sneak prides itself on its natural clean energy, with natural caffeine, zero sugar with no hidden nasties – no added preservatives, no refined sugars, no artificial colour and no artificial flavours,” Chris Smith Partner Brand Manager at World of Sweets, says. “Instead, the drinks contain natural caffeine, zero sugar, taurine, ginseng, choline and carnitine plus added B vitamins. All combine to help deliver a boost that enhances mental focus and sharpness.”

Retailer View

Premier Mo's Blantyre

Mo Razzaq, Premier Mo’s Blantyre, Glasgow

“Energy drinks are a key segment of our soft drinks category, so we always give new products from big brands a chance when they become available.

“Irn-Bru is one of our strongest-selling soft drinks brands, so when we got the chance to trial the new range of Pwr-Bru, we jumped at it. We stocked all four varieties – Maverick Berry, Origin Original, Diablo Cherry and Dropkick Tropical. We made sure they were double faced and highlighted them with PoS from the brand so they stood out.

“Pwr-Bru was an instant hit with our customers. Straight away, we were selling a few cases a week. We saw that Pwr-Bru was popular with the Irn-Bru core customer, but it also brought new shoppers to the brand and to the Energy category as a whole. Products that do this are essential for us in keeping our range exciting and evolving.

“We’re planning to promote it on social media with a ‘like and share’ competition where customers will be able to win some free cans.”

A healthy space

The growing consumer health trend shows no signs of waning, which is why brands are playing an ever-increasing focus on introducing sugar-free or caffeine-free options to their ranges.

“Red Bull Sugar Free brings an older and more affluent shopper to the category which is different in profile to the average Energy Drink shopper, so is key to catering to different shopper groups,” Red Bull notes. “Having full sugar and sugar free options on shelf is important as increasingly shoppers are buying across both; last year 32% of shoppers bought both a full sugar and sugar free energy drink (+3pts vs last year).”

Britvic is also conscious of the importance health credentials play in this category, with new recipes and an expansion in the Rockstar Energy range to include two new zero-sugar flavours – Rockstar Refresh Strawberry & Lime and Watermelon & Kiwi. “The link between sugar content and stimulant drinks is a considerable barrier to entry in the category,” Parker adds. “Stocking low- or no-sugar options will help retailers to maximise their sales by addressing this concern. Through reformulation and the introduction of compliant lines across our portfolio, retailers can trust our brands to help grow their sales, complemented by high-impact merchandising and promotions.”

Top tips for merchandising from Britvic
  • Easy to navigate – Use signage at the fixture and keep it easy to navigate so customers can find the products they’re looking for. Do this by leading with stimulants first due to the size of the category and the future growth potential.
  • Connect complementary categories – Where appropriate, link with other categories such as crisps, snacks and nuts, and offer drink and snack promotions at key times of the day.
  • Make moments memorable – Events and brand activations are key to provide excitement and a point of difference in-store. Leverage key events, using points of sale, supplier and brand assets. Consider digital pre-shop communication where such systems are established by geo-targeting shoppers with customer app push notifications.
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This publication contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under the age of 18 years old.

This website contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under 18 years of age.

This website contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under 18 years of age.

This publication contains images and information relating to tobacco products. Please do not view if you are under the age of 18 years old.